Whether or not you’re starting a job search of your own accord, you can quickly become overwhelmed by the growing maze of recruiters, job boards and networking platforms unless you have a stable job search routine. Use the following as a guide to get started.

Depending on how long you’ve been employed with the same organisation, you may have never been in a state of career transition. Maybe you have conducted a job search before, but it was long before the digital age. Add the complexities of COVID to the mix and the stress and competition of job searching can seriously impact your mood, confidence and well-being. No matter what your situation, numerous engineers and technical professionals are facing the same issues and are unsure about how to navigate these. Here are six habits that will help to improve your job search results in these uncertain times.

Most engineers are so focused on the need to execute scope in their current role; they forget to put a career strategy in place that will help them reach their next position. The few engineers who focus on their careers and job searching at the same time as their day jobs are leaps and bounds ahead of the majority of engineers who only fixate on performing well in their current role. If you’re currently employed, you’ll have to devote at least a few hours a week to career development, networking and job-search related activities. Consider scheduling a reoccurring appointment in your diary each week to carve out the dedicated time. If you’re unemployed, you’ll need to treat it like a full-time job. It’s unlikely to be fun and it certainly won’t be easy but keep in mind, the more effort you put in, the more you’re likely to succeed in your job search when companies are hiring.

Searching for a job can take longer than you may think, in some cases six months or more depending on planned organisational changes and the hiring and vetting processes. That’s why it’s essential to have and follow a plan consistently. For example, rather than messaging your whole network on mass, take the time to connect on an individual basis. Similarly, don’t suddenly rush to send your CV out for all sorts of positions. Instead, spend time thinking about your ideal role, what you’ll be doing, where you’ll be based and how it aligns with your longer-term career development. Also, invest time amending your CV to suit each role and write a convincing cover letter. You may not feel like you’re accomplishing much, but this steady, targeted and tailored approach is proven to yield a better result in the long run.

Much like tracking the progress of a project, you should keep a record of what you’ve done so far in your job search and the results achieved. Use a spreadsheet to list the companies you’re interested in, contacts in your network along with the dates of your emails, texts, calls and LinkedIn messages. Also include the responses you receive, including possible job leads and the next steps for each opportunity. Be prepared for job openings to be put on hold or disappear, even if they’ve been open for a while. That doesn’t mean they won’t open up again in a few months. Keeping a record of these will act as a reminder to follow up as time moves on.

Irrespective of your day-to-day job function, be it either technical, commercial, administrative or supervisory when it comes to your job search; be the CEO.
If your current approach to job searching isn’t working, don’t give up. Take control and try something different. Do your CV, LinkedIn profile and Cover letter tell the reader what unique value your expertise can do for their business? If not, your job search will benefit significantly from refreshing these materials so that they communicate your brand and better target the role and industry you’re looking to work in.
Perhaps it’s time to boost your visibility, either online or in-person. Many events are occurring virtually so there’s no excuse not to attend. Also, look for professional groups to join and contribute to on Facebook and LinkedIn. Whether it’s posting engaging content or attending industry events, networking is still one of the most impactful ways to take control and inform your connections that you’re looking for new career opportunities.

If you’re facing redundancy, start a support group or a group chat with those you know who are also seeking opportunities. Or ask someone in your network to help keep you on track with weekly check-ins. Be honest with your family and friends when they ask how the job search is going so that they’ll know when you need support—lastly considering reaching out to a career coach for their advice. Most career coaches can help you identify appropriate companies and expand your network. If that’s not an option for you, DYOR (do your own research). Identify the companies you want to work for and set up Job Alerts on LinkedIn and Google alerts for the when they appear in the news. That way you’ll be notified of open vacancies and be armed with the latest news about the issues the business is facing or the direction they plan to take. Use this information wisely and tailor your cover letter to demonstrate your knowledge and describe how your skills can help overcome the challenges.

Focusing on the negative can derail your job search so its crucial to focus on the possible actions you can take rather than lament about the situations that are out of your control. This positivity will come across in your day-to-day job search communications as well, which could improve your likeability. Be prepared to think about your role more broadly and possibly pivot to an adjacent position that would also make use of your experience and skills. Now is the perfect time to work on updating your qualifications. If you’re not succeeding in your job search, analyse job descriptions by listing each required skill and experience. Then consider whether you have that exact skill. If you have the skill but haven’t used it for a few years, or if you’re lacking the skill entirely, it’s worthwhile brushing up to make yourself an even better candidate when the job market picks up again. Which it will.

Finally, be kind to yourself. Reward yourself for effort, not results.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amelia Brooke started ABCV Solutions more than six years ago with the mission of using her experience within the engineering and recruiting sectors to create interview-winning CVs for candidates in the engineering and technical sectors. Born out of a desire to provide persuasive CVs, LinkedIn profiles and cover letters that speak to potential employers, Amelia has seen hundreds of clients advance their careers, gain promotions and take on challenging and satisfying roles. 

amelia@abcvsolutions.com | linkedin.com/in/amelia-brooke | abcvsolutions.com